In just three days, the Class of 2020 will sit for what is undoubtedly the most important examination of their life.

From 5 November to 15 December 2020, a total of 1 058 699 candidates will sit for their final National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.

The series of exams will start with the English First Additional Language Paper 1 on Thursday and conclude with the Visual Arts and Agricultural Management Practices papers.

Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule, wished the matrics all the best as they prepare for the final lap.

“To the Class of 2020 and on behalf of the Ministry and the Department of Basic Education, I want to take this time to wish you the best for your final National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.

“Despite the overwhelming disruption brought about by COVID-19, you have remained resolute. You have taken steps to attend weekend revision classes and utilised the available online media resources to prepare.

“Stay on the course, and continue to work hard,” she said on Monday.

Mhaule thanked teachers for supporting learners during a stressful academic year.

“It is not easy for teachers but they are pushing on. We also want to thank parents and the communities for making the environment conducive for learning.”

On Friday, the Education Quality Assurance Council, Umalusi, gave the various assessment bodies the greenlight to administer the 2020 matric exams.

With the academic year severely affected by the national lockdown regulations associated with the pandemic, assessment bodies had to reschedule the mid-year examinations.

This means that this year, a combined cohort of candidates, who were supposed to write June examinations and those who were registered for the November examinations, will form part of the same cohort for the end-of-year examinations.

As a result, the assessment bodies – the Basic Education Department, the Independent Examinations Board and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute, will collectively administer the examinations to the largest matric cohort in the sector’s recent history.

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